Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Making the move over to wordpress

Hello everyone!

 I have made the move! Please check out my new blog Shred Muffins! It's a little bit of a different spin on my adventure through the baking world and life!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Surfer Cake

The other day I got a call from the good friend asking if we could make a cake that had a surfer on for her boyfriend, another good friend of mine. She wanted to make a memorable cake for his 27th birthday. I have had this dream of really getting good at decorating so I decided to take on the challenge!

My first step was to figure out what the heck I was going to do. I knew the best place to start was pinterest. After getting a few ideas there I drew up to ideas. The first being a giant wave and the second a beach scene with the ocean on one half and beach on the other. After baking the cake and figuring out logistics the wave cake was out. I didn't have enough cake to work with so we decided to go with the beach and ocean scene. I made a 9 x 13 yellow cake as my canvas. First step was getting an icing that was blue. I instantly thought blueberry icing! It sounded delicious so I added it to the butter cream only to have the icing turn pink. Not really thinking the blueberry part through I used my icing coloring and got a dark purple and blue tint as my base layer. While I was fiddling with the icing my roommate and friend tackled the fondant wave. I gave them a quick down and dirty of fondant they were off! After the wave was constructed and dried for a little bit we put it on the cake. It looked fabulous! Then I made another butter-cream frosting with blue die for the water. The mix of the blue icing and purple really give a great sea look. A surf board was also created and a little mini surfer man added. I thought about the sand for a little bit wondering what would look best and I came to the conclusion that brown sugar was the best option! I looked real and it was edible, double win!

For being my first cake in this genera I was extremely happy with how it came out! The sea looks like waves and the beach is fantastic! Next up is a dinosaur themed cake for my friend's birthday in two weeks. I'm thinking a whole fondant cake with dinosaurs all over. It will be perfect for her since that is one of her favorite things!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hazelnut Goodness

As I mentioned in an early post I made some chocolate hazelnut linzer cookies for a dinner party. This was my second time whipping up these little gems. They came up on the Smitten Kitchen blog a while ago and I haven't stopped thinking about them. Some ladies were coming over for wine and snacks a few weeks back so I figured not better time to make these tasty treats.

What excites me most about these cookies was the use of hazelnuts and Nutella, possibly two of my favorite things. The cookie is essentially a sugar cookie but with finely chopped toasted hazelnuts mixed in there. I had never toasted hazel nuts before but it turned out to be super easy. You just lay them on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Once they are toasted the shells just fall off in your hands. The first time I toasted my hazelnuts and put them all in my little food processor. The directions say to not let the hazelnuts turn in to a paste. Trying to not make this happen I didn't chop them up enough and I had rather large chunks. The second time making these I only put half of the hazel nuts in at the time to make sure they got nice and fine.

Another issue I had with my first batch was that it was too dry; maybe it had to do with the large hazelnuts or not enough liquid. Regardless this time around I decided to add the whole egg instead of just the yokes that the recipe calls for. In the end this was not the fix I needed.

This time my cookies came out flat and they ran together, not holding their shape. They tasted fabulous but didn't have that sugar cookie consistency I wanted. I think the next time around I will try just one whole egg and one yoke. Maybe that will be the magic number.

Once the hazelnut cookies were prepped and chilled in the fridge I had fun with cookie cutters. I did all shapes and sizes: stars, circles, flowers, etc. They were a fun cookie to work with. I baked them all and then constructed the cookie. The bottom cookie has nutella spread on it and then you put the other cookie, which has been dusted with powder sugar, on top to make the most delicious hazelnut cookie.

These are a bit of an time-intensive cookie but I deemed it worthy of my time. I suggest you have some friends over to hang out while you cook. I did this (with a glass of wine) and the company makes all the hard work go quick!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

As some of you know I have a man in my life that can't eat peanuts or really any nuts at all, without serious consequence. I tend to steer clear of them when he is home but this past weekend he was down in Moab, Utah so I decided to go peanut crazy!

My roommate parent's were in town and we were having them over for dinner. I was given the task of making dessert, not a terrible thing to do. I was flipping through my favorite cookbook from the cooking blog Smitten Kitchen and found these peanut butter with chocolate center cookie sandwiches. Yes these cookies may seem like over-kill and yes I knew they would be extremely rich but that didn't stop me.

This recipe was fairly simple, it called for some peanut butter ganache in the middle. Super simple recipe and super quick!  The recipe made about 40 cookies, which was a bit much for 10 people (plus I decided to make Hazelnut cookies as well) so I split the dough in half and froze the other half for the next time I splurge on peanut butter.

The dough was super easy to throw together.All the ingredients went in the kitchen aid, let it mix and then I used my hands to really mold it together. The dough was quite crumbly dough so you have roll it into a log and freeze it. Then after it is frozen you can cut 1/4 inch slices, lay on a cookie tray, and bake.The ganache cooked over a double boiler, and then whisked until all the ingredients were combined and melted into an amazing looking sauce. I could have pulled out my pastry bags to fill the cookie centers but I harnessed my patience and just used a knife. In the end it didn't matter how they looked; the two plates full of cookies were gone by the time everyone left.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Baby Booties!

I have decided to become even more domesticated and attempt sewing. Last time I sat in front of a sewing machine was to make a stuffed dog in 7th grade for my home economics class; do they even offer home economics anymore? The 14 year hiatus didn't scare me so I went all in last night.

This sewing idea all came about when different friends were breaking the news they were pregnant. I am not the best at shopping, I become overwhelmed and panicky after 20 mins. I attempted going to Carters and Baby Gap for presents but there were so many options. And not to mention the gender neutral shopping and not knowing what to get. This had me thinking that maybe I could make my own presents just the way I wanted them. Who doesn't like a arts and craft time, I'm sure my friends receiving this wished I stuck to Baby Gap.

I called up a friend who is out of town for the winter that has a sewing machine, I figured she won't be needing it in Colombia. She was beyond accommodating 5,000 miles away and let me borrow her machine, manual and all. The next step was finding a pattern I liked. It took some time but Etsy came through and I found a pattern I could download off the site that I loved.

Last night was the big night to attempt the unknown. It started off a little rough. Just getting the machine to work proved difficult but after that it was smooth sailing. The first pair I attempted was a cute little pink and black polka dot pattern. You can tell it was my first pair as it was far from perfect. But by my third pair I was feeling pretty good and they weren't looking too shabby. I even used a fleece lining to make sure those cute little feet are comfy while wearing my awesome shoes! Next time I sit down with the sewing machine I am going to use the cutest fish fabric.

For my next project I am going to attempt aprons. I think my own custom aprons are just what I need to complement my baking. Check back for more!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Baked Sunday Morning - Whisky Chocolate Tart

Well I guess I fell of the blogging earth for a little bit! But no worries, I'm back! I decided there was nothing better to kick start blogging off again then with a Baked Sunday Morning recipe.

This time round we made a whiskey chocolate tart. This was my first tart ever and I was extremely happy with how it came out. This whiskey chocolate is not for the chocolate faint of heart. The tart is extremely rich with a nice subtle whiskey taste.

First I made a short bread tart crust that was very simple and delicious. Short bread cookies, butter, salt and sugar are the ingrediants. Once combined I baked for 12 minutes to let it form a shell and then I made the chocolate filing, which was also extremely simple! Cream, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, eggs, a little bit of flour and of course a splash of whiskey. It says to use a nice whiskey but I used what was available at my house. Not the top shelf but not far from the bottom shelf. I'm sure the better the whiskey you use the better the taste. It only was in the oven for 20 minutes and came out looking delectable. Letting this delicious tart sit and cool was a challenge, I could only think about slicing a piece. Thank goodness I waited because it was completely worth it. Since this tart was so rich, my friends and I opted for smaller pieces. You could easily serve this dessert at a dinner party of ten or so. I opted out of making the whiskey whipped cream due to a lack of time. However, if I plan on making this for a party, I'll definitely include it, it sounds too good. Instead I will be having a scoop of vanilla ice cream with my next serving.

I hope you all give this dessert a try some day as it is very easy but seems like you slaved in the kitchen all day long to the untrained eye!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect!

In my quest to become a baker, I feel I need to start perfecting my decorating skills. I was on Pinterest  (because I am always on Pinterest) the other day and came across a Cupcake-A-Day challenge. First off, there is no way I have the time to do a cupcake a day but I can do a cupcake a week or every couple weeks. But I figured this would be a perfect time to start that decorating practice that I knew needed to happen. After much debate about what kind of cupcake to make I finally decided on a chocolate cupcake with a raspberry butter cream frosting.

These cupcakes did come out great but the decorating is what I was most concerned about. When I was in my class at Michael's here in Park City I made a cupcake that looked like a bunch of hydrangea. I set out this time to make the same looking cupcake. I really like how these cupcakes looks as a final product. Next time I think I will mix in a little bit of blue or purple food coloring to give it that flower look. More and different colors give the frosting a little more depth.

Over all I am very excited to see that these cupcakes turned out well. Next time I will have to decorate the cupcakes a totally different way! I can't wait to see what that next batch has in store!